Goldcrest seen on Gatley Carrs

News & Events

Gatley Carrs Bird Report December 2017

Friday, 1 Dec 2017



The winter well and truly set in this month. A mixture of frost, snow, hail, rain, gale force winds and even thunder and lightning, restricted the number of visits I could go to the Carrs to do the Bird Recording.

Although the weather was harsh, plenty of birds were starting to sing and some were seen in courtship display. A large flock of Goldfinch were very vocal, as always, and were seen on all the days I visited. A Goldcrest was with them on one occasion. The pond was frozen on several days but I did see 2 Grey Heron and was pleased to see 3 Snipe giving good views from the birdscreen. So often these birds are so well hidden you would not even know they were there so it was nice to see them out in the open stood on the ice.

On 2 dates I saw 5 and then 3 Redwing and both times they were close to the car park near the Christmas tree. Both Mistle Thrush and Song Thrush were heard singing also Robin and Blackbird.

Nuthatch, Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Bullfinch were also seen this month.

I am rather disappointed not to have found any new bird species for the Reserve this year but I shall do my best to continue to try and increase the total next year.



On the 17th of October it was my first day back for several weeks and it did not take me long to realise how much I had missed being at the Carrs. Although it was a blustery day there were still plenty of birds around. The usual Great Tit, Blue Tit and Long-tailed Tit were abundant. A Grey Wagtail flew over twice and several Jays were very vocal.

On the pond I was surprised to see any birds as the CTV were busy working in the area. A total of 7 Moorhen and 2 Grey Heron, all seen from the Dipping Pond, were the only water birds. At least 4 late Red Admiral butterflies were seen around the Meadows.

My next noteworthy day was 27/10 a beautiful bright crisp frosty morning. The dew on the grass glittered like diamonds, such a lovely sight. Plenty of Golfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch about. A constant flyover by Woodpigeons too numerous to count, possibly spooked by the 2 Sparrowhawk seen in the area. A Song Thrush was singing, practicing ready for Spring.

15th November a huge flock of 23 Carrion Crows all in same tree, near the Railway,were making a tremendous noise. As I got closer I could see a Buzzard in the tree. The Crows were doing their best to chase it off, but the Buzzard took no notice, and eventually, the Crows flew off.

On other dates in November a Great-spotted Woodpecker was seen also Coal Tit and several sightings of Bullfinch. The Ring-necked Parakeets were seen on several occasions, often by the nest hole, as they are early nesters it would not surprise me if another attempt is made next year.

Glad to be back at the Carrs again.



I always feel August is perhaps the saddest month of the year as we say goodbye to the Warblers that have been with us since Spring. The Reserve is much quieter as most birds have now reached the end of the breeding season. A few birds ie Wood Pigeon and Collared Dove will breed all year round, but are less prolific as the days begin to shorten and cool down.

The star bird of the month was a beautiful Male Redstart that Peter Owen was lucky to find in his own garden 9th August. The bird looked quite dishevilled and wet. The previous evening there was heavy rain and it is quite possible that this little bird had found refuge in Peter's garden whilst it recovered enough to continue its long journey. Although not rare birds, they are usually found in oak woodland, with strongholds in Wales and parts of Cheshire Forestry , it is unusual to find them in gardens. I am sure we all hope that it returned to its Winter habitat safely.

Other birds seen on the Carrs this month were a Sparrowhawk, Jay and Goldfinch. Lesser black-backed Gulls flew over on several days and a few Black-headed Gulls were also seen. A Buzzard was seen on several dates and Swifts were plentiful.

The only birds I saw on the pond were Moorhen with 2 new young, Mallard and 2 Little Grebe.

Plenty of butterflies were about on sunnier days, including, Red admiral, Speckled Wood, Green- veined White, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. Plenty of Brown Hawker Dragonfly, Common Hawker and few Damselflies.



Total Species Now 55

Although the breeding season is slowly starting to wind down, there were still plenty of birds to be seen. At the start of the month 4 Chiffchaff were heard but this reduced to 2 by month's end. It was a similar story with Blackcap as only 2 were heard all month.

On the Pond still plenty of activity as the Moorhen produced 2 new young, their second brood of the season, as is common for this species. A maximum of 6 Mallards were still around but no sign of any young. As the Grey Heron was on the pond often it is possible it had predated the ducklings. At least 4 Little Grebe, 2 young and 2 adults, could often be seen.

It was a nice to see the Kingfisher, and as I watched from the bird screen, a second bird apeared. Apparently, they were also reported on other dates too.

A pair of Coal Tit were seen with several young, and a Bullfinch family were nice to see. The Goldfinch families were abundant around the Reserve as would be expected as this is the most common bird to be seen at GC.

Several sightings of the Ring-necked Parakeet around the Meadow and feeding area. Although I do not think there is any proof that they produced young this year, as possibly they are a young pair, I do not think it will be long before their numbers increase as they have found an excellent food source in the gardens close to the Reserve.

On the sunnier days there were plenty of insects. The Butterflies seen were Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Comma and White. Cinnabar moths were plentiful and obviously plenty more to come as the Ragwort is full of their caterpillars. Common Blue Damselflies were plentiful, with a few Azure winged Damselflies also. A few Brown Hawkers were seen, also plenty of Bee species on the abundant flowers.


Total Species Now 55

June was a a very hot month with temperatures often in the high 70s. As expected, plenty of downpours in-between. The rain was much needed to refresh the pond and to keep the meadows from becoming too dry.

There was plenty of proof around the Reserve to suggest breeding had taken place. Broods of Blue Tit, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Wood Pigeon and Long tailed Tit were all seen. On the Pond a pair of Little Grebe had 2 young which could be seen from the bird screen. A Mallard was seen with 7 young but eventually there were only 2 left. It was great to see the Kingfisher had returned and could often be seen from the Dipping Pond walkway or the bird screen. It was often possible to see 2 Kingfisher which would suggest the pond must have a good supply of small fish for them to eat.

These are all good signs to prove that the hard work that the members put in is well worth the effort as the birds are thriving here.

On June 18th a Nature Awareness Day was held. Although the weather was beautiful it may have proved too hot for some people as the temperature soared to almost 80 degrees. It was disappointing that it was so poorly attended but the few that did come along enjoyed their walk very much. Throughout the afternoon a Ring-necked Parakeet could be heard and it was seen several times as it flew across the WFM.

2 Blackcap and 2 Chiffchaff were still calling till month end and a Moorhen was seen with 2 young.

It is sad that although the birds, flowers, insects and butterflies are all proving a great success, yet as hard as we try, we cannot get more people to come and see our lovely Reserve. They do not know what they are missing out on.



May was a very good month with plenty of dry, warm days ideal for bird watching.

The highlight of the month was the Sunday Strollers Bird Walk which was attended by several people. During the 2 hour walk, on a beautiful warm day, a total of 23 bird species were seen. The stars of the day were the 2 Buzzards that soared above us. It was such a delight to see them so clearly against a bright blue sky. At the Dipping pond there was so much to see. A pair of Canada Geese appeared with 7 newly hatched young and a very vocal Little Grebe swam close to us. Also here 2 pairs of Blue Tits were busy taking food into the nest boxes to feed their young. The walk was much enjoyed by all who attended.

On other days a Long-tailed Tit family with 7 young were very vocal as they moved noisily around the tree tops searching for food. 5 Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff could still be heard and several females were seen also.

May 12th the Reserve looked like a moving sea of yellow and purple as flowers moved gently in the breeze. Buttercup, Dandelion and Vetch were everywhere and on this lovely warm day the Butterflies appeared. Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue, White and Speckled Wood were in abundance.

May 21st the first Whitethroat was seen and heard along the middle path. On May 26th 3 were seen and could be watched very easily from the bench near the Car Park. Also on this day many Dragonflies could be seen all over the Carrs. They were mainly Common Blue, Azure Blue and Red Darter. The only birds seen on the pond on this date were one Moorhen and a Grey Heron.

May was such a colourful month as so many flowers were in bloom. Red Campion, Cow Parsley, Ladies Smock, Comfrey, Herb Bennet, Forget-me-not, Speedwell, Meadow Cranesbill and Yellow Flag to name a few. Also Orchids and Tansy appearing on the WFM.

Such a delightful month and so much to see as you took a walk around the Carrs.



April was an unseasonably cold month. Often quite windy but at least there was still a few pleasant days.
11/4 was such a day. Warm and bright excellent for bird watching and walking also. Plenty of male Blackbird were seen, obviously females were nesting. A Blackbird egg was found along the path to the pond so this proves nesting is taking place and young birds will soon be seen. A pair of House Sparrows were building a nest on the Meadows. 3 Blackcap and 3 Chiffchaff were singing also Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Blackbird. On the pond 3 Canada Geese with at least another 4 nesting. The only other birds here were 1 Moorhen and a male Mallard.

18/4 On arriving I could hear a Willow Warbler singing by the gate. I was lucky to hear 2 others, one on the pond island and another near the Dipping pond. 2 Blackcap were close to the gate also, and a male Bullfinch was taking advantage of the seed along the path that had been dumped there by vandals. Needless wastefulness but so many birds were enjoying this gift.

On the pond, were 5 Canada Geese and a very vocal Little Grebe. A pair of Collared Dove were seen nest building on the Top Field. Warm weather had brought out the butterflies as there were plenty of Orange Tip Butterflies around the Reserve.

25/4 AsI walked through the main gate 8 Blackbird, 2 Mallard and 4 Stock Dove were eating the seed along the path. At least 4 Chiffchaff and 4 Blackcap were in full song, also Blackbird and Song Thrush. Nice to see 3 Buzzard overhead and this was a magnificent sight, seeing them against a clear blue sky. Much enjoyed by 3 dog walkers and myself.

Pleasant to see so many flowers appearing. Fritillary and Cowslip on the WFM and Daffodil, Daisy, Dandelion, Field Speedwell, Forget-me-not, Red Campion, Garlic Mustard, Ramsons and Comfrey.



Plenty of evidence of the arrival of Spring could be seen around the Reserve. On 1st a Grey Wagtail was seen bathing in the stream and 11 Canada Geese returned to their traditional breeding pond. On the 7th plenty of birds were singing at the Reserve when Blackbird, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin and Greenfinch were all heard. Quite a few species of Bees were seen also.

The 15th saw the arrival of the first Spring migrants of the year as 2 possibly 3 Chiffchaff were singing. One bird near the DM and another bird was close to one of the feeding stations. On the pond 2 Moorhen were busy searching for a nest site and 5 Canada Geese were there also. A pair of Long- tailed Tit were seen building a nest in an undisclosed area of the Reserve. The first sighting of the year was a Buzzard as it flew slowly overhead.

The 21st was a very windy day but still plenty of birds were seen and heard. Greenfinch males were displaying in several areas and a Chaffinch was singing also.

On 28th 2 Buzzards were displaying courtship behaviour for several minutes over the Reserve. They were constantly harressed by a Sparrowhawk who eventually gave up and flew away. Although there had been several reports of these birds previously, today was my first sighting of the Ring-necked Parakeets as they flew from the suspended feeder. These birds are not a native species but are fast spreading from the South Manchester area where they are firmly established. Although they are not very popular with many people due to their taking over the nests of other birds, these birds are a new species for the Reserve taking the total to 55.

The first Butterflies were seen today as severaL Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock were seen as they enjoyed the warm sun.

Plenty of floweres in full bloom included Lesser Celandine, Lords and Ladies, Common Dog Violet, Ramsons and Fritillaries appearing on the Wild Flower Meadow.



Thankfully, although several storms brought damage to many places, Gatley Carrs was not so badly hit with minimal damage. Although the weather was so changeable, the birds sang around the Reserve, and were busy looking for nest boxes and other places in which to start nest building.

Song Thrush and Blackbird were abundant and were heard each time I visited. A pair of Magpies were seen adding sticks to an old nest. Two Woodpigeon flew across the Reserve carrying twigs also. Along the stream, 3 Jays were very vocal as they chased each other around a tree, and eventually they chased an intruder away from their chosen nest site. At least five Black- headed Gulls were seen often in the company of the much larger Lesser Black- Backed Gulls, as they flew over the Reserve.

I was delighted to find a pair of Teal on the pond 14/2. These birds are very elusive but I was lucky enough to be able to watch them for a few minutes. Also seen on the pond this month were 5 Mallard, 2 Moorhen and a Little Grebe.

Peter Owen was lucky to spot a pair of Grey Wagtail on the stream 22/2 and a single bird was seen 28/2. On 28/2 there were 5 Canada geese on the pond and the following day this was increased to 11 seen by Peter again.

The first Buzzard sighting was on 28/2 and a Sparrowhawk was seen also.

Many trees around the Reserve are already in bud. Snowdrops in abundance and Daffodil and Crocus starting to appear. Spring is not too far away.



As expected, January had a mixed bag of weather conditions. Plenty of heavy rain, strong winds and also some bright frosty mornings. Alder catkins were visible and by mid- month so was a beautiful array of Snowdrops. On days when the sun shone many birds began to sing. Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits sang around the Reserve. Also plenty of Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Greenfinch. An excellent count of 7 Song Thrush could be heard also. A great count for our small Reserve.

Two Sparrowhawks, possibly a pair, were seen as they harassed a huge flock of Woodpigeon from the trees along the stream path. Another bird was seen the following day over the car park. Seven Redwing were in the trees around the pond, close to the steps, feeding on Ivy berries. Before long, they will be migrating and we will have to wait till autumn to see these beautiful birds again.

The pond had 2 Mallard, 2 Moorhen and up to 2 Grey Herons. Other birds seen this month were Goldcrest, Great spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch and Chaffinch.

The RSPB bird walk on 29/1 was fortunately a dry day. Several people took part and 22 bird species were seen. A full report is displayed on the Reserve notice board.

Of interest, on 17/1 Peter spotted 2 Dippers on Gatley Brook, centre of the village. This was the first of several sightings and as they were showing signs of courtship behaviour it is hoped they will stay to breed. A Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher were seen in the same place.

Next Item >